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Little Girl Twirly Skirts with New Dritz Fashion Elastic

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Today we welcome Dritz® as a new sponsor of Sew4Home. "Oh! The red tomato pincushion people!" Well, yes, they are famous for that classic pincushion, but they also have about a gazillion other tools and notions to help your projects go faster and easier. We can't cover all gazillion here, but we can bring you some of our favorites. This week, we're going to strrrrreeeeetch your knowledge of: elastics! Long the wallflower of the notions world, hidden inside waistbands, cuffs and underwear; the new Dritz® Fashion Elastics snapped onto the scene this year in bold colors, patterns, even ruffles! It's a style makeover we haven't seen since shoelaces went from white to wild. We have five project tutorials this week featuring the new Ruffle Elastic, Fold-Over Elastic, and Colored Knit Elastic. Don't try to keep this elastic out of sight inside a casing, it's begging to be the featured star. Today's little girl twirly skirts use bright knit elastic as a colorful, no-roll waistband. With nine fashion colors to choose from, you can make a rainbow of fashion statements. 

Dritz® knit elastic comes in handy 1" x 3 yard lengths. Choose from nine vibrant colors: Red, Berry, Purple, Blue, Navy, Gray, Green, Brown and Khaki. This is a soft, comfortable elastic that is curl resistant and will not narrow when stretched. 78% polyester and 22% rubber so it is completely machine washable, dryable and colorfast.

Our twirly skirts are created from three coordinating Fat Quarters from this Spring's Petal collection by Tanya Whelan for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Most little skirts of this type have raw or serged edges that connect with the waistband, but we've come up with a unique stitch-and-flip technique that creates a finished top edge on either side of the waistband. No "It's too scratchy!" complaints here!

We coordinated our waistband elastic with an accent rick rack border for each skirt's top layer. This was easy to do thanks to the nine popular colors from which to choose. These new Dritz® colors are rich and stylish, easy to mix and match with a wide range of palettes. 

Our supply list below gives you click-to-buy links for the new elastics available at Jo-Ann.com. You'll find a great variety of all the Dritz® Fashion Elastics (and more) both online and in store at Jo-Ann Stores as well as your other favorite fabric retailers. Dritz® is the Sew4Home go-to brand for sewing notions and tools: easy to find, easy to use, always economical. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies


Supplies listed are for ONE twirly skirt to fit approximately 4T-5. You may need to adjust the fabric cuts larger or smaller to best accommodate the amount of "flounce" you want for your twirly girl. 

  • ONE package of Dritz® 1" Knit Elastic; we used 1" Berry for the Pink Skirt and 1" Red for the Red Skirt
  • THREE coordinating Fat Quarters (18" x 22") - ONE FQ for the top layer and TWO MATCHING FQs for the bottom layer (if you choose not to use Fat Quarters, you'll need approximate ½ yard cuts from two coordinating fabrics); we used the following Fat Quarters from the Petal collection by Tanya Whelan for FreeSpirit Fabrics:
    Red Elastic Skirt:
    Large Antique Roses in Parchment - ONE for the top layer
    Antique Ticking Roses in Ivory - TWO for the bottom layer
    Pink Elastic Skirt:
    French Dots in Petal Pink ONE - for the top layer
    Scattered Roses in Petal Pink TWO - for the bottom layer
  • All-purpose thread to match fabric and elastic
  • 1¼ yards of ½" rick rack to match elastic; we used bright pink and red
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started 

  1. The formula for the elastic waistband is the child's waist measurement minus 4". Our toddler model was a 4T size with a 20" waist, so we cut our 1" Knit Elastic to a 16" length.
  2. Cut the Fat Quarter for the top layer in half to create TWO 22" x 9" rectangles.
  3. Trim down the two Fat Quarters for the bottom layer, removing 4" from each to create TWO 22" x 14" rectangles. 
    NOTE: If you are not using Fat Quarters, simply cut the rectangles from your regular yardage: top: two at 22" x 9" and bottom: two at 22" x 14".
  4. Leave the 45" length of rick rack as is; you'll trim to fit later.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board


  1. Bring the raw ends together to form a loop. Overlap the ends 1", forming a loop. For our sample, our finished loop was 15" (original 16" cut length less the 1" overlap).
  2. Thread your machine with thread to match the elastic in the top and bobbin.
  3. Set up the machine for a tight zig zag stitch.
  4. Stitch down each raw end to create a flat circle. 
  5. Set aside the waistband.

Top layer

  1. Re-thread your machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  2. Finish the 9" raw edges of each of the two rectangles. You can use a serger (as we did) or a sewing machine finish. 
    NOTE: If you are new to finishing your seam allowances, we have a great four part series. Start here with Part 1: Most Popular
  3. Place the two rectangles right sides together and pin along one 9" edge.
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together the one 9" edge. 
  5. Press the seam allowance open and flat.
  6. Make a 2" hem along the bottom edge. To do this, fold up the bottom raw edge ½" and press. Turn up and additional 1½" and press again. Pin in place.
  7. Using your machine and a blind hem foot, stitch the hem. You could also hand stitch the hem in place.

    NOTE: If you are new to using your blind hem foot, we have an easy to follow tutorial
  8. Find the length of rick rack. Place it along the bottom hemmed edge so the just the bottom "waves" will be visible below the hem. Pin in place. Trim away the excess trim at both sides so the rick rack is flush with the fabric. 
  9. We used the rick rack seam as an additional accent line of stitching and so re-threaded our machine with contrasting thread (we used the elastic-matching thread) in the top and bobbin. You could stay with matching thread if you prefer.
  10. Stitch the rick rack in place, staying close to the bottom fold.
  11. Fold the top layer in half, aligning the remaining 9" sides and being careful to align the rick rack along the bottom. Pin in place.
  12. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  13. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together to create a loop, hiding the raw ends of the rick rack in the seam. 
  14. Set aside.

Bottom layer

  1. Find the two 22" x 14" rectangles for the bottom layer.
  2. As above, finish all the four 14" raw edges.
  3. Place the two pieces right sides together and pin in place along both 14" sides. 
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both 14" sides. Press the seam allowances open and flat.
  5. Create a 2" hem as you did for the top layer.

Mark and insert the waistband

  1. Find the finished waistband. The overlap point is the center back. Place a pin at the center of the two zig zag seams. 
  2. Fold and flatten the waistband, keeping the overlap point at the center back. Place a pin opposite the center back. This is the center front. 
  3. Match up both of the pins, flatten again and place a pin at each side. Then fold into quarters and put an additional marking pin in between each side/center. You should have a total of 8 marking pins in place when done. 
  4. Find the two skirt loops. Turn both WRONG side out. 
  5. Slip the bottom skirt loop inside the top skirt loop. Align the top raw edges, matching the side seams of both loops. 
  6. With the side seams aligned, place a marking pin at each side. Then, fill in with center and mid-point marking pins to match the same pattern you did on the waistband. 
  7. Slip the waist band in between the two skirt layers.
  8. Match up all the pins at each of the eight points. 
  9. It will look a bit messy, but not to worry... this is where the stretchiness of the elastic comes into play.  
  10. Carefully place the layers under you presser foot, starting at a side seam. Adjust for a ¼" seam. Drop your needle. Gently stretch the elastic between the layers, pulling it until the new stretched length of the elastic allows both fabric layers to lay flat. Begin stitching, stretching as you go. You'll need to stop every so often, with the needle in the down position so things don't shift, and re-stretch. Stitch in this manner all around the top. 
  11. When complete, pull apart the layers to make sure you caught all three layers all the way around. If not, re-stitch, opening your original seam if necessary to re-layer.
  12. Push the bottom layer through the center of the waistband so it is right side out. Then fold down the top layer over the bottom layer. The two layers are now right side out, the remaining ¾" of the waistband is sticking up, and the inside edge is finished. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever



Comments (19)

JessicaHanson said:
JessicaHanson's picture

I just finished this skirt.... and it does look cute.  But I would agree with others who have said that there is just far toooo much fabric for the elastic.  I easily had to cut 6 inches off my original cuts, maybe more.  My the top layer on my finished skirt didn't really look right on either, almost like it needed to be longer.  I love the idea of this skirt, and will be trying again though.

Lollyquiltz said:
Lollyquiltz's picture

The skirt turned out cute...I made two, actually. On the second skirt, I ran a gathering stitch around the top of both fabrics and gathered it lightly before pinning it to the elastic. This worked out much better because as the other commenters have mentioned, it is pretty much impossible to stretch the elastic far enough to attach all that fabric. Also, the proportion of the top layer to the bottom layer is more attractive if there is only about 3 inches difference in the length rather than the suggested 5, in my opinion. The inside finish looks so nice and the girls love their skirts!

Nancy Grover said:
Nancy Grover's picture

I just completed this and really, there is just too much fabric for the amount of elastic used. And I even made the waist size 4 inches larger! This elastic is a great idea, but it did not stretch enough to accommodate all the fabric. It turned out very cute but of course, too big. If I try again, I will use less fabric. 

wendylou said:
wendylou's picture

Nancy, I just made this yesterday and had the same problem - although I pretty much stuck to the measurements, just added about an extra inch. I reckon depending on the child, the fabric could be cut down an inch easily eg 21 inches long, and then just make the elastic longer as you have already said.  It didn't give as much as I would have liked when sewing, but then i went around it again, and then did a large zig zag to neaten.  I am really happy with the result.

Cyndi said:
Cyndi's picture


I made the skirt and it turned out cute although I had to shorten it quite a bit.  I did have quite a bit of trouble sewing the waistband on.  I did everything per the instructions, but it was difficult to keep all the layers even as I sewed.

Sassy Sally said:
Sassy Sally's picture

Love this! Am going to make cheeleading skirts for two great-granddaughters. Pittsburgh Steeler pattern available at Fabric.com. They will be thrilled!

Cyndi said:
Cyndi's picture

I had a really hard time sewing on the elastic.  I followed the instructions but it didn't go on very easy.


Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Cyndi - sorry to hear you had trouble. It does take a bit of stretching and holding to make it work with all three layers. But, as we mentioned above, if you go slowly and stop often (with the needle down) to re-set, it should work well. Good for you for sticking it out and finishing!

jen.cooper426@yahoo.com said:
jen.cooper426@yahoo.com's picture

This is absolutely adorable!  I'm going to have to tuck this one away for the future when I have a little one I can sew for!!  Thanks for the time-saving, adorable idea!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Kay Hurt -  - selvedges are not the first choice, but when working with pre-cut Fat Quarters when you need the full amount of fabric, sometimes you don't have a choice. Luckily these seams are well hidden inside the skirt. Good for you for being super careful with your inside finishes.

wendylou said:
wendylou's picture

This is a gorgeous pattern.  And the elastic is great - is it available in Australia do you know? Othewise I could order online. Thanksl

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ wendylou -  We're so glad you like our twirly skirts. Dritz advises international customers buy the products online via joann.com or amazon.com.

wendylou said:
wendylou's picture

Thanks Liz! I have been so taken with this pattern that I have ordered the elastic from Fabric.com. Unfortunately joann.com don't ship to Australia.

Estela said:
Estela's picture

That is an adorable skirt, I love the tutorials and tools description. I usually don't go off and try new things but your posts have opened me to a whole bunch of things to make my life easier.Thanks!

SewingAngel said:
SewingAngel's picture

Hello S4H!

This is really a nice and quick Project. I like the bright colours of the elastic.
I think, I would finish the top of the skirt layers, between step 6 and 7. Do you think, that would look bulky, when finished?
Thank you for all your great ideas.

Seaing Angel

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ SewingAngel - As we mentioned above, our clever stitch-and-flip layers nicely finish both sides of the waistband. The raw edges are small (it's a 1/4" seam) and well hidden between the layers so finishing isn't really necessary. But feel free to finish if you feel that is best for you, however, a simple zig zag or serged edge would be best, because, yes - you do want to minimize any additional bulk.